“I need to feel something,” Lauren said. She wanted me he to cut her. I didn’t want to, but the pain in her eyes convinced me. I knew the relief would be more powerful if I did it. I sighed and reached for the knife I’d sterilized earlier.
“Where?” I asked quietly. We were naked in bed. The outline of her breasts showed through the thin sheets, but I didn’t get hard. There was nothing sexual about this, for either of us.
“On my upper arm,” Lauren said, turning her head away from me. She didn’t like watching me cut; she liked the surprise of the pain, the sting that opened the floodgate. Carefully, I pulled back the sheet. I kissed a spot right above her left bicep before I pressed the knife into her flesh.
I heard her draw a sharp breath, followed by a moan of pleasure. The blood, bright red, trickled down her arm. I grabbed a tissue and blotted it away and asked, “More?”
“One. Right below.”
I made another precise cut . Again, Lauren drew a breath and moaned. She began crying. “Thank you,” she said, turning over after I cleaned off her arm, rubbing it first with alcohol, two dabs of Neosporin and finally applying two small Band-Aids. This was the way things had been since I took over most of the cutting. If she insisted on continuing it, she would do it safely. I tried not to be angry with her when I discovered untreated, uncovered cuts. She liked to cut her the back of her neck, and the wounds would turn angry if I didn’t catch them.
The sun had fallen by the time she curled into me. Her eyes, clear from pain, looked sleepy. “Thank you,” she said again.
“You’re welcome,” I told her and kissed her. She leaned into the kiss, but I knew sex was out of the question. That was OK. I’d already caused enough destruction.